By Kyle White, Belfast Newsletter.
The line-up for next month’s KDM Hire Cookstown 100 is taking shape with a number of leading names confirmed for what could be the only Irish road race to go ahead in 2020.
The Co Tyrone meeting, postponed from April, is currently set to run from September 11-12 at the 2.1-mile Orritor course under strict Covid-19 protocols.
Last year’s Supersport race winner Adam McLean will be gunning for glory on the McAdoo Racing Kawasaki machines at his team’s home race.
McLean has been competing in the National Superstock 600 Championship on the Binch Racing Yamaha and will have plenty of mileage under his belt ahead of his first roads outing of the year.
The new-look Burrows Engineering/RK Racing line-up of Paul Jordan and Cork’s Mike Browne will attract plenty of attention as they prepare to make their competitive debuts for the Dungannon-based team.
However, Derek Sheils – who left John Burrows’ team in an amicable parting of ways after four successful years – is set to miss the event.
Sheils, who was due to compete on a BMW S1000RR with backing from Roadhouse Macau this season, has been the man to beat in the Superbike class at Cookstown, winning six of the last seven races in the feature class.
Mullingar’s Derek McGee, who halted Sheils’ run of six straight Superbike wins as he triumphed in the red-flagged Cookstown 100 main event in 2019, is also absent from the entries.
McGee made an early call this year to focus on returning at full fitness in 2021 after injuring himself in a crash at the Isle of Man TT during practice for the Lightweight race.
Skerries man Michael Sweeney is entered on his MJR BMW and CM Building Yamaha R6 machines. Sweeney is also set to compete in the Supertwin race on his KBS Kawasaki.
Also featured in the line-up are Thomas Maxwell, Darryl Tweed, Stephen McKnight, Dan Harrison, Davy Morgan, Damian Horan, Paul Cranston, Neil Kernohan and Rob Barber.
Lisburn’s Carl Phillips is among the newcomers on the PRF 750 and 600 Suzuki machines. The Ulster Superbike champion will be making his national road racing debut after competing at the North West 200 for the first time last year.
Overseas competitors include Russian Danila Krasniuk and German trio David Datzer, Stefan Wauter and Takos Vassilios, who are all newcomers to the event. Austria’s Julian Trummer is a late withdrawal after finding his path blocked by new Covid-19 restrictions.
A total of 12 races are scheduled on Saturday, September 12 (roads close 10am). Practice takes place on Friday, September 11, with roads closing at 12 noon.